The Tibetan parliament-in-exile next meets in March in Dharamsala, and the Dalai Lama is expected to announce his desire to resign from his political duties as head of the Tibetan government while retaining his religious ones at that time. (In religious terms, the Dalai Lama is not the highest-ranking lama in Tibetan Buddhism, nor is he even the head of the Gelugpa school of which he is a part. That responsibility falls to the Ganden Tripa.)

Partially due to the Chinese government’s ongoing and endless furious eforts to discredit him and brand him a “splittist” who desires to dismember China, the Dalai Lama is the subject of persistent retirement rumors. This latest news may signal a desire on the Dalai Lama’s part to defuse China’s efforts to make him the face of Tibetan independence and, as they see it, disobedience. He remains actively engaged in the world, expressing joy at Aung San Suu Kyi’s release, and hoping that China will now free Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo. Note that this Times of India article refers to him first and foremost as the “Tibetan spiritual leader,” rather than emphasizing his political role.

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